I was born and raised in Toronto in the 1950s. In 1957, we purchased our first television. To my young eyes, this mesmerizing box provided not only entertainment, but a glimpse into the world of public speaking. I was especially fascinated by the weather and news broadcasters with their exact enunciation, often mimicking their vocal nuances.
My parents were both professional musicians, my father, a percussionist, and my mother, a classical pianist. There were always musical instruments and sheet music decorating our humble decorum. The violin was often my favourite instrument to try to test my vocal tones with. It is considered the one instrument that is closest to the human voice. I was given extra reels of tape from the CBC to play with, and was fascinated by its potential properties for recording the human voice. At age 12, I purchased my first official tape recorder, and spent countless hours reading to it, singing, and acting out scenes from plays. It became my best teaching tool. I attribute my vocal skills to my tape recorder. It gave me self-confidence, the ability to read out loud , practice enunciation, and pronunciation, experiment with vocal sounds, accents, singing and acting. It was especially useful as a public speaking tool.
What about you? Are there any childhood discoveries that have stayed with you and nurtured your spirit on the path to growing your public speaking passion into a career?
My journey to becoming a professional public speaker, coach and trainer was fostered throughout the years by connecting the dots of related fields of speaking. My love of public speaking gave me the opportunity to excel in presentations, winning speaking awards, academic accolades, exploring and achieving the skills as a voice over artist, acting and becoming the voice behind a documentary, commercials and as a book narrator.
My professional use of microphones helped to create a plethora of vocal techniques that I still use to this day.
Following are some samples of vocal techniques to add to your speaking warm up:
Always do warm up exercises prior to speaking.
- Try to keep your tongue as flat as possible in your mouth while speaking with the tip of your tongue resting on the back of your bottom teeth.
- To try to keep your mouth in the size and shape of an egg while speaking as much as possible so your sound could be projected not muffled.
- Don’t allow your mouth position to go to wide when speaking. Your sound will carry to the side instead of in front. Try as much as possible to keep your lips in the position of saying “YOU”. Imagine that your sound is like a megaphone it should be projected forward not sideways.
- Massage your face opening all the cavities of sound using the tips of your fingertips, massage, your cheekbones, eyelids, under the eyes, sinuses, forehead, etc. expel air through your lips, like an engine of a car racing with “brr, vrr”, etc. Pucker lips and smile.
- Stick your tongue out of your mouth and begin counting from 1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and to 5. This is the best exercise for articulation.
When you embark on a speaking career, you are considered a speaking athlete.